You are taking the steps to reduce your energy consumption and are wondering what more can I do. We have developed a list of high baseload culprits that range from simple behavioral changes to replacing old appliances with ENERGY STAR models. What exactly do we mean by baseload? Baseload is the energy used to power things you use on a day to day basis year round. If you have any questions please give us a call and we can schedule a Baseload Analysis or a comprehensive Energy Efficiency Analysis.
Top 10 Typical High Baseload Uses
Number of Occupants: The number of occupants is a major factor in baseload energy usage. Educating the household on what each person can do to lower their energy consumption on a day to day basis will help to keep the baseload energy usage in check.
Lighting: This is one of the most simple energy saving tips that will make a big impact overall. By simply turning off the lights when not needed and using natural light whenever possible, you can reduce energy consumption. To make more of an impact in energy consumption consider switching out your incandescent bulbs to CFL’s or LED’s. Both CFL’s and LED’s use 75% less energy and lasts 10 times and 25 times longer respectively.
Ceiling Fans: While ceiling fans can provide cost-effective cooling, leaving them on when the room in not occupied can contribute to excessive energy costs. Turn off your ceiling fan if you are not occupying a room to save energy. Ceiling fans are meant to cool people and not rooms. Set your fan blades to blow downwards in the summer to circulate the air rather than lowering your thermostat and vice versa during the winter.
Inefficient Appliances: Refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and clothes washers significantly contribute to a high baseload. ENERGY STAR has the following recommendations for these appliances:
Refrigerator: Replace your old refrigerator for greater savings. If your refrigerator is from the 1980’s or not labeled ENERGY STAR, consider replacing the appliance.
Freezer: Replace freezers that are made prior to 1993. You can save $35 each year on your utility bills.
Dishwashers: Replacing dishwashers that are made prior to 1994. You will save in two ways, 1) the dollar savings equates to free detergent all year; 2) you will save water.
Clothes Washer: ENERGY STAR recommends replacing a clothes washer that is over 10 years old.
Multiple Appliances: In general, one large refrigerator is cheaper to run than two smaller ones. Remove the extra refrigerator/freezer from the garage or utility room to reduce energy consumption.
Computers and Gaming Systems: While computers, televisions, and gaming systems do not use a great deal of electricity at one time, using them often and keeping them plugged in for many hours can increase a home’s baseload by hundreds of dollars a year.
1 Many users do not turn their video game console off. A game console that is left on 24/7 will use approximately 10 times more annual energy than one that is turned off after use. Due to the absence of any studies, we based our calculations on the assumption that 50 percent of users leave their device on when they are finished playing a game or watching a movie.
2 Wii is a registered trademark of the Nintendo Corporation. Xbox is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation. PlayStation is a registered trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
3 All utility cost estimates assume typical retail electricity rates of $0.10 per kWh.
4 For more detailed recommendations, please read the full issue paper at www.nrdc.org/policy.
Thermostat: While heating and cooling is a big part of any home’s energy use, programmable models if set properly can save about $180 a year according to ENERGY STAR. When away from home, set your thermostat to 85°. When you are home, set your thermostat between 78° to 80°. For every degree you set your thermostat above 80°, you can save approximately 2% to 3% on cooling costs. Setting your air conditioning fan to “auto” can save approximately $15 to $25 each month on your energy costs. Don’t forget to replace your filters monthly or quarterly based on the filter type purchased. Source: SRP
Water Heating: There are three hot water culprits in the average home.
Showers: The average household uses 15-25 gallons of hot water for a bath. A 5-minute shower uses 10 gallons or less, but most average American showers are 7.5 to 10.4 minutes. Install a low-flow showerhead.
Dishwashers: Operate when fully loaded and limit the use of the “rinse hold” setting. This setting uses up to seven gallons of hot water for each use. Air dry the dishes versus using the “heat dry” setting.
Clothes washer: Operate when fully loaded and wash in cold water. Source: SWG
One last tip: set your water heater to 120°F (usually mid-way between “medium” and “low” settings).
Hot Water Leaks: A leak of one drip per second can cost $1/month. If you have any water leaks –get them fixed as quickly as possible.
Pool Pumps: Last but not least is the pool pump. Improper timer settings and/or run time can contribute to added energy costs that could be avoided. Operate the pool pump during off-peak hours for the appropriate amount of time it takes to circulate your pool water one time. This will depend on the size of your pool and can range from 8-12 hours per day. The circulation time will be greater in the summer than the winter. Go one step further, and consider replacing your single speed pump with a variable speed pump and save up to 90% on energy costs.